Automatically entering a mobile store on a shopping spree to look for a new contract: This is not a good idea at all. Consumer advocates explain why.
Before you set foot in a cell phone store, you should consider at home how much data and phone minutes you actually need each month. Only those who know their own needs can realistically evaluate offers and prices, as the Consumer Center (VZ) North Rhine-Westphalia explains.
Product information sheets that stores are required to provide to assist when evaluating and comparing different offerings. However, it should not be missing from online offers on the Internet. The tariff information sheet contains all the important data and tariff costs, but there are no additional discounts or options.
Not without a summary
Before signing the contract, clients must receive a summary of the contract, either digital or paper. This has been regulated by law since December 1, 2021. It not only contains the contact details of the mobile phone provider and the basic characteristics of the individual services that will be provided.
Any activation fees, term, and terms of renewal and termination should also be found. At this point, you should also carefully check whether the verbal promises from the sales presentation can be found exactly in the summary.
Hardly any store takes them out
But this summary is not easy to get. On World Consumer Day (March 15), the Consumer Advice Center made a random visit to 198 mobile phone stores in North Rhine-Westphalia. Compelling result: the contract summary required by law was distributed in only 6 stores. Several carriers have been warned.
But the summary is not everything. Before agreeing to a contract, interested parties should be able to write down all important contract documents, and advise consumer advocates. In addition to the contract summary and contract form, this also included the service description, price list, General Terms and Conditions (GTC) and the previously mentioned product information sheet.
Cancellation is difficult if not impossible
The major drawback of communication contracts concluded in the shop: they usually cannot be canceled afterwards. This is only possible within 14 days for contracts concluded online or over the phone.
However, consumers can challenge or unusually terminate a store contract or claim damages if they have any doubts about whether it was done legally. For example, because they were fraudulently deceived. Even those who then discover that promised services are not being offered should have their legal options examined.
New freedom after the minimum run
But even if they are fundamentally dissatisfied with the terms of the normal tariff, consumers have had better cards since December 2021, i.e. improved cancellation terms. New contracts can still be concluded for up to 24 months. After the minimum contract term has expired, however, it can be terminated at any time with one month’s notice, the Consumer Advice Center explains.
Automatic extension for another year is no longer allowed, as was the common practice until the end of 2021. Incidentally, this regulation also applies to old contracts, that is, contracts concluded before December 1, 2021.
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